After calling out the Phoenix front office during the offseason, labeling their fans as bandwagoners and undermining PJ Tucker's role with the team, Marcus Morris has raised the stakes and called out Brandon Knight, describing the journeyman guard as "soft". After the team's 102-95 win over the Suns last Friday, Morris was queried about his thoughts regarding the last few game-defining plays where he stole Knight's pass, eventually sending Andre Drummond to the line where he forced overtime and a Pistons win, per MLive's David Mayo:
"I don't know. What I do know is that he's soft," Morris said of Knight. "Soft. He panicked. So when you're like that, that's the type of stuff that happens."
Marcus' jab sounds a lot like what his brother Markieff had to say about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missing a potentially game-winning three in one of their matchups last season.
Morris on KCP: "Caldwell-Pope got it and you know he doesn't have any heart so we knew he was going to miss it."— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) November 20, 2014
Knight hasn't responded to his former teammate's criticism, but you can count on him remembering it when both teams meet up next season.
Darrun Hilliard moves ahead of Reggie Bullock on depth chart
A somewhat surprising selection, Darrun Hilliard was touted as being a diamond in the rough by the Pistons front office, who lauded the Villanova product's offensive ability, character and passion for the game when they picked him with their 38th pick. In an age where draft prospects are consistently under the microscope, not much was known about the Pennsylvania native, he had a decent Summer League outing, and showed potential during the pre-season.
However, Darrun would lose his positional battle with Reggie Bullock, who was inserted into the rotation for the first few games of the season before the third-year man sputtered his way to the end of the bench behind some very poor performances. Now, after dropping 31 points in his D-League debut and putting up some solid performances in training, Hilliard has replaced Bullock on the depth chart, logging 30 of his 45 NBA minutes in the past five games, compared to his counterpart's 11 minutes in the same amount of contests.
While the rookie is still raw, he certainly looks comfortable on the court. His shooting has slowly been improving as he gets more playing time and adjusts to the pace of the game, he is so far averaging 25.9% from the field and 33.3% from deep for 3 points and a rebound in under 7 minutes. For comparison's sake, Reggie Bullock is currently shooting 10.0% from behind the long line, and a dismal 5.6% overall, while fellow rookie Stanley Johnson is completing 37.5% of all his attempts, and 28.4% from three.
Stan Van Gundy noted that Hilliard has been playing well and with confidence, while Darrun has been attentive to his coach's gameplan, per Pistons.com's Keith Langlois:
"Just learning the game more, how to pace it and what Coach expects from me," Hilliard said. "It's just a learning process. He kind of wants me to get more into my defense instead of just hunting for shots - same thing as coach Wright. I just wanted to get my defense going and get my teammates involved before I went out and shot."
"The D-League really helped me with scratching that itch to play," Hilliard said. "I wasn't used to playing and I had a lot of steam to let off - not out of frustration, just to go play and compete. You play this game, you're a competitor. You want to compete at all times and I think when I went down there, I was able to compete and I think I played pretty well."
Grand Rapids star and Piston hopeful Adonis Thomas injures wrist, ruled out for season
After a solid season leading the Pistons' D-League affiliate in scoring, Adonis Thomas was added to the team's Summer League and training camp roster, with Stan Van Gundy assuring the 22 year-old that he had a chance to make the final roster. Unfortunately, injuries limited Adonis and the guard was unable to stick with the squad and was promptly sent back to the Grand Rapids Drive along with fellow training camp aquiree Ryan Boatright. After being one of the team's brightspots last year, Thomas averaged 5 points and 4 rebounds through two games before suffering a season-ending wrist injury, as MLive's Peter J. Wallner relays. The Drive have since waived Thomas and added 11-year NBA veteran Dahntay Jones.
Jones has already played three games with his new team, putting up 11 points and 3 rebounds on average whilst shooting 0.400/0.250/0.941. Dahntay last played for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2014-15 season, and saw some pre-season action with the Brooklyn Nets this year. In 622 career games for seven different NBA teams, the swingman averaged 5.4 points and 1.7 rebounds, known as a locker-room mentor and role player, he had his best season in 2010 as a member of the Indiana Pacers, where he averaged a career highs in points (10.2). rebounds (3) and assists (2).
While there is no timetable for Thomas' return, you can expect him to don the Drive's uniform next season as they still own his rights. Grand Rapids is currently sitting fourth in the D-League's Central Division with a 4-6 record.
Tweet of the Week
U screenshotted my snap? Lol party foul https://t.co/BHJ5kMk52F— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) December 13, 2015